Introducing The Crosswalk: Reader Submitted Posts
UPDATE: Sign up form is fixed.
If I had a penny for every time someone emailed me an article, blog post or extended thought for consideration, I’d have, like… a couple of bucks. But it’s obvious from those emails, the comments, and the sheer number of local sports blogs out there, that there are thousands of Philly sports fans who want their opinions heard, or, in this case, read.
So, we’re going to try to help with that.
The Crosswalk will be a separate section of the site exclusively for fan and reader generated content. This isn’t breaking any ground necessarily. SB Nation blogs allow readers to contribute, Bleacher Report has turned into a quarter of a billion dollar behemoth on the backs of fan posts, Gawker provides a platform for readers to have their own entire blogs. But I don’t think there’s anything like this on a local level– where local sports fans can write posts on a platform that will expose their work to tens of thousands of like-minded folks. Message boards and subreddits are filled with smart, funny and clever opinions, but the ultra niche audiences are very narrow in scope, and besides screenshots and memes, few submissions ever get any sort of mainstream attention based on their merit alone, and when they do, the user is rarely credited. Case in point: As I write this, there are 17 people currently on the Phillies’ subreddit. There are 156 on CB, and that’s far from the typical mid-day peak.
One of the reasons posts on message boards and Reddit don’t have mass appeal is because those sites are mostly built and formatted for discussion. Formatting a story for a general audience on them becomes damn near impossible.
Posts to The Crosswalk will appear in the same format as a normal post on the site, will be (loosely) vetted before going live, and, as an added bonus to the writer, have the possibility of being blasted out on our Facebook page (12k likes), my Twitter account (27k followers), and on the main page of the site (20k readers per day). If the latter occurs, we’ll pay the writer $25. We’ll also offer page view bonuses for The Crosswalk section itself once we get a feel for it. Contributors will also have access to our raucous, and infamous, comment section (come with thick skin!). And their work will have a genuine chance of being seen by the many local writers, editors, TV anchors, radio hosts, PR professional, execs, coaches and athletes who read the site. In other words: get your opinions heard and your work seen.
A few questions you might have in mind:
Will content on The Crosswalk being edited?
No, not really. All submissions, at least to start, will get looked out before posting (in a reasonable amount of time– hours, not days) and checked for basic formatting, any dangerous or libelous content, copyright infringements, etc., but they typically won’t be edited for content, spelling or grammar (we reserve the right to make minor edits for readability). Posts making it to the main page of the site will go through an extra layer of scrutiny and be held to the same high, pristine standards I hlod msyself an Jim too very day.
Will all submissions get posted?
No. We make no guarantee that any individual post will get published. Generally speaking, anything that is well-thought out, well-written, or genuinely interesting or funny (length is hardly a determinant) will get published on The Crosswalk. Once you’ve had one or two submissions accepted, it’s likely all future submissions, with the same standard of work, will be accepted.
How will I know if a post on the main site is reader submitted?
It’ll come with this logo, always:
Can I re-post something I already wrote on my own site, social media, a message board or Reddit?
Yes, you can. We’ll happily accept cross-posts from your own site (or Reddit) as long as it’s your own work, and you’re more than welcome to put a line at the end of your post telling your new readers that they can read more on your website.
Do I have to use my real name?
It’s preferred that you use your real name – it will legitimize what you write – but I understand that there are many reasons why you might prefer a pseudonym or handle. For example: My name isn’t Kyle Scott, it’s Kyle Laskowski. Scott is my middle name. Just keep in mind that if you want recognition, adulation and praise, you’ll want to use your name. Regardless of whether you use your real name or not in your byline, you must submit your real name to sign up, and by doing so, agree to all of the terms and conditions in our Comment and Privacy policies, which basically say that you agree not to hold us accountable for any repercussions from anything you say or do as a commenter or contributor. They are your words and you stand behind them.
Can I plug my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or other social media accounts?
Damn straight. At the end of your posts.
Can I link to them?
Of course. Just keep in mind that we’re not gonna approve obvious SPAM and SEO gimmicks.
Do you offer a rev share program?
Not yet. Right now, compensation is limited to $25 for posts that are featured on the main page of the website. But once we see how things are going, we plan to offer page view bonuses and potentially other forms of compensation for our best contributors. This is all subject to change, of course. But we will make any changes known in advance. Keep in mind that sometimes we will cover similar topics as The Crosswalk posts and make no assertion that you will be compensated if we wrote a similar post on our own. However, we will try to use a quality reader submission if it’s available at the time of a short post such as a screenshot, viral image, meme, video, etc.
Could this turn into a full-time job for me?
Maybe. I’ll eventually hire another full- or part-time writer, so being a successful contributor will go a long way in getting you considered for a job. But I’m making no guarantees on that front. Also, I can assure you that posts which get featured on the main site will be seen by many local writers, producers, editors, TV anchors, radio hosts, front office people and athletes. If exposure is what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.
[More information and sign-up field after the jump.]
What sort of stuff should I write?
Thought you’d never ask. Good stuff– you should write good stuff.
Write things that are easy to read and accessible to a general audience. Long columns are great, but unless you’re a terrific writer, no one is going to sit through your David Murphy-esque thought piece, especially if they don’t know who you are. If you’re really good, or have something genuinely unique to say, then by all means, write as much as you want. But generally speaking, here are some things that work:
Yeah, I know– how Bleacher Report of me. But they work. They’re fun and easy to read. And they make for good conversation starters.
Same as lists.
If you’re good, you won’t need to tell people it’s satire.
Sometimes it’s a lot easier to write passionately if you’re (pretend) addressing someone. An open letter – to, say, Ruben Amaro or Ed Snider – will be easier to write, and more interesting to read, than a column complaining about Ruben Amaro or Ed Snider.
Screenshots, Tweets, social media posts
A LOT happens during games and on social media. It’s impossible for any website to cover all of it. See something cool, funny or interesting? It makes for a great post and will typically have the lowest barrier to entry to get tweeted out, posted on Facebook, or put on the main page.
LEGIT TRADE RUMORS– as in, ones reported by someone in the media. Again, we can’t possibly cover them all, but there’s always discussion out there that’s worth paying attention to.
Long, boring columns
We have newspapers for that. Be different, or at least interesting.
Unsubstantiated tips and gossip you heard from a friend of a friend of a friend
We’re not above gossip, but don’t just throw some shit at a wall. Come with evidence.
Stolen or copyrighted material
Excerpting and citing is fine. Copying entire bodies of work is not.
I won’t post it. I mean, I’ll totally look at it. But I won’t post it.
Will I be able to see how many people read my posts?
Yes. All user submitted posts will have a page view counter at the bottom.
Do you have a silly tagline for this?
You’re goddamn right I do: Get the word on the street in The Crosswalk.
Can I submit video and audio posts?
Absolutely. As long as you have the rights to post them or they are your own work, you can submit any photo, video or audio. Preferred formats are YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud and other popular formats.
How do I sign up?
Just fill out this form with your real name, your name AS YOU WANT IT TO APPEAR IN YOUR BYLINE, and a real email address. We’ll provide you with contributor level login credentials, some basic guidelines, and then you can get to posting.